Next year’s flagship phones will be differentiated by others in terms of one element – whether they support 5G or not.

Huawei has already outlined its ambitions to have a 5G device hit the market in 2019, and this has since been echoed by Samsung, with other Android phone makers likely to follow suit.

What about Apple then?

Well a new report from Bloomberg says the Cupertino-based company won’t have a 5G-capable iPhone before 2020, meaning the competition will have a solid 18 to 24 months of lead time on their iOS-favouring rival.

As for the reason why Apple will have to wait that long, the company is reliant on Intel in order to handle the modem component that will facilitate 5G cellular connectivity. For now Intel does not have a 5G modem ready to go by next year, and Apple’s continued fights with Qualcomm means it likely will not turn to that manufacturer to assist.

While some may be concerned that Apple is lagging behind its competitors, Bloomberg’s report points out that this isn’t the first time that they have been slow to adopt and rollout new cellular standards.

This was the case with both 4G and 4G LTE, as Apple waited a bit longer than its rivals to bring the technology to its devices.

It also shouldn’t affect their standings with consumers either, with Apple fans more than happy to wait or pay a premium for their go-to brand.

When Apple does indeed bring 5G to one or more of its iPhones, it will probably use the same PR line of wanting to “perfect” the consumer experience of the technology before bringing it to market, as they have done in the past.

What are your thoughts. If Apple is late to the 5G party, will you tempted to go for an Android device instead? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.